Democratic and Republican chairs talk about winning over Michigan voters

FOX 2's Roop Raj spoke with chairs of both the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee about the nation's recovery from the coronavirus, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and the upcoming November election.

Part 1: The DNC's Tom Perez.

What do you think of the job Gov. Whitmer has done with the COVID-19 crisis?

"I think Governor Whitmer wasn’t looking at this through the lens of parties, she was looking at the lens of public health," said Tom Perez. "She understood that this is an unprecedented pandemic and we have to put people's health first. She also understood that it would be really helpful to get more help from Washington and she tried. And it just seemed all too frequently that (President Donald) Trump would rather tweet at her than cooperate with her.

"We all want to bring the economy back and we want to do it as soon as possible. The way to do it is to solve the public health crisis and to make sure we have testing and tracing at scale so that we understand that we can control those so we can flatten the curve and unfortunately this president didn’t do that, and here we are in a crisis."

The economy is showing signs of picking up a bit. President Trump ran on the economy being strong. This can help boost him?

"This is epic loss and to call this report joyous and to call it in his words, 'The greatest comeback in American history' is like being down 42 points in a football game and now you’re only 35 points down," Perez said. "That is no cause for celebration because that’s where we are. These are the worst numbers since The Great Depression and so much of it was preventable. "

The Republican National Committee told FOX 2 that the job losses were expected to be far greater and there is reason for everyone to be encouraged that jobs are bouncing back.  

As for campaigning as we remember it, it’s a wait-and-see approach. Will they be coming back out to campaign again in Michigan?

"I’m sure in a run-up to the election we will see him (Vice Present Joe Biden) in Michigan," Perez said. "I don’t know exactly when, but I do know that Joe Biden will always follow the advice of public health professionals. He’s not going to put voters or anyone in harm's way. Joe Biden understands that when we listen to our public health officials, we can get our economy back and faster and we can also get out there and campaign."

Are you concerned about the integrity of our elections?

"Let’s be clear. Donald Trump wants to sow seeds of distress about the viability of vote by mail. Donald Trump has voted by mail repeatedly. His cabinet votes by mail, his communications director who was decrying vote by mail - she votes by mail," Perez said. "The reason they are trying to sell these seats of distress and vote by mail because they understand that when more people participate in the election, they are going to have a problem."

Part 2: The RNC's Liz Harrington. 

Calling COVID-19 and the impending shutdown of the US economy a momentary pause, the spokesperson for the Republican National Committee says since the fundamentals of the economy were strong before, we are better off because of it.  

"It is a great moment and a testament to the strength of our country," said Liz Harrington. "We talked about expectations for losing seven to eight million jobs in May and when the numbers come out, we actually gained the most jobs we have in history, two and a half million. That shows the resiliency of the American people and the bipartisan response to the Paycheck Protection Program, and to give a lot of these businesses a lifeline."

While Governor Whitmer has gotten a lot of praise on her handling of COVID-19 from the Democratic Party, including the party chair, Harrington and the RNC continue to ask why Gov. Whitmer was heavy-handed in her control of what could open when.  

"You can go buy pot, but you can't mow grass. It was always this very arbitrary thing where why you can't buy paint? Wow, you're forcing everybody to stay at home why can't people buy garden seeds? Now she's marching in the streets, hand in hand, not social distancing and yet you still can't get a haircut in Michigan? That's not giving the American people the benefit of the doubt that they deserve."

FOX 2 asked the governor's office for comment and her office tells us the governor used facial coverings, social distancing where feasible, and did the best they could due to crowd size. And they also sanitized their hands. 

Protests in Detroit that have been relatively peaceful compared to other big cities. We haven't seen that as part of the national narrative.  

"I think it's a great opportunity to highlight the good things of people coming together, where it works, where police have a great community relationship around them," Harrington said. "And you're right, the main stream media has ignored what is happening in Detroit, I have not seen it in the main stream airwaves because I think they want to inflame tensions, they want us to be more divided. In reality I think the vast majority of Americans do agree, they want to take a stand against lawlessness because both are true when you look at what happened at George Floyd. 

Everyone agrees that is not appropriate, that is not Law and order, that is not justice, that is not due process, that is lawlessness. But it's also lawlessness to in his name have the radical elements hijacking protest, burning down small businesses, churches, looting and rioting, that's not law and order either. And we want to highlight all of the areas that we are able to peacefully protest."